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Nicholas Vo
John Kubler
English 115
18 September 2013
Discrimination: The Story of the Minority
Barronelle Stutzman, an elderly, Christian woman and owner of Arlenes Flower Shop,
refused to provide service to a same-sex couple due to her religious beliefs. Is this an act of
discrimination or simply a woman expressing her faith? The answer is discrimination.
Arlenes Flower Shop in Richland, Washington, opened its doors to the public over thirty
years ago. Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlenes Flower shop, is a devout Christian who views
marriage as a sacred bond between and man and a woman. Robert Ingersoll, a long-time friend
and customer of Stutzman, decided to marry his partner of the same sex and asked Ms. Stutzman if
she could provide flower arrangements for their wedding. Stutzman refused and the two men took
their story online. The story spread like wildfire resulting in lawsuits against Stutzman.
In the state of Washington, the Consumer Protection Act outlaws discrimination based on
sexual orientation. Robert Ingersoll asked Stutzman to provide flowers for his wedding which
happened to be a same-sex marriage. Stutzman declined. She has made bouquets for hundreds of
weddings, but has only ever turned down one (Keprtv.com 1). Stutzmans refusal is an act of
discrimination. Stutzman is fully capable of providing her services to opposite-sex weddings, yet
she turned down Ingersoll due to her beliefs. Thats like a vegetarian waiter at a restaurant
refusing to serve a customer meat because it conflicts with his beliefs. That would be outrageous.
Arlenes Flower Shop is a public accommodation. Stutzman has provided her services to
the public for over thirty years. Upon entering the market, a business is subject to all
antidiscrimination laws. For instance, in New Mexico, Elane Photography refused to photograph a

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same-sex marriage. Their arguments fell flat due to one major point, Elane Photography is a public
accommodation, therefore it must follow the New Mexico Human Rights Act which makes it
unlawful for any person in any public accommodation to make a distinction, directly or
indirectly, in offering or refusing the to offer its services . . . to any person because of race,
religion, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation . . . (Elane Photography v.
Willock 6). Stutzman is in the same position as Elane Photogaphy. They are both public
accommodations and their refusal to provide their services to same-sex couples is discrimination
and against the law.
Some may say Barronelle Stutzman is just expressing her religious beliefs, which she is
and it is perfectly legal to do so, but she runs a legitimate business and her business must conform
to all antidiscrimination laws. This means, refusing to serve a customer based on gender, race, or
sexual orientation is illegal. Stutzman states I dont consider the people that walk through the
door customers, just people that want something to please somebody else and thats my job
(Stutzman Story Video 1:37). In other words, she just sees customers as people asking for a favor
and it is her job to fulfill their needs. It is her job to serve the customer and she must equally
provide services to all people whether they are gay or not.
Discrimination is bad, but necessary. It draws attention to the problem of acceptance and to
the minorities that are suffering. Discrimination is a catalyst that sparks change and with that
change follows a brighter future and broader sense of equality.

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Works Cited
Alliance Defending Freedom. The Story of Barronelle Stutzman. Online video clip. Youtube.
Youtube, 16 Mar. 2014. Web. 9 Sept. 2014
Andrews, Annie. Local Florist Refuses to Service Same-Sex Marriage. Keprtv. 6 Mar. 2013.
N.p. Web. 9 Sept. 2014. <www.keprtv.com/>
Elane Photography v. Vanessa Willock. Docket No. 33,687. New Mexico. 22 August. 2013. The
Supreme Court of New Mexico. 2013. Print.